Archive for December, 2008

74% FDI in DTH raises security concerns

December 29, 2008

Jawahar Goel, the managing director of Dish TV, is unequivocally opposed to increasing the limit of foreign investment in direct-to-home (DTH) sector in India from the current 49 per cent to 74 per cent.

In conversation with Shuchi Bansal, Goel focuses on security as a major concern in case the government raises the FDI bar.

Why are you against increasing the FDI limit for DTH?

There is a clause in the DTH Policy which states that “all foreign personnel likely to be deployed by way of appointment, contract or consultancy etc. by the licensee for installation, maintenance and operation of the licensee’s services shall be required to obtain security clearance from the government of India prior to their deployment.”

On one hand, such a clause was included in the policy because broadcasting and uplinking stations must be secure.

But now the government is keen to give away management control in DTH operations to foreign nationals. If it does that, it must remove the clause. We’ve raised the security issue in the past, too, as the proposal was on the verge of getting clearance some time ago. We are only asking the government to take a informed view of the situation.

Did you make a presentation to the ministry recently?

Yes. The ministry officials asked us to show the single messaging system which DTH technology makes possible. This means that any DTH operator can send a message to an individual viewer on his\her TV screen. You can imagine the implications of this service if it’s not handled responsibly.

Currently, the service is banned by the government. This could be a security concern and we have been told that there is no way to intercept these messages.

But wouldn’t the increased foreign investment limit help the DTH sector which is making huge losses?

Today not a single company has exhausted its foreign investment limit. Within 49 per cent , the Foreign Direct Investment limit currently is not more 20 per cent. The remaining 29 per cent is NRIs, OCB and FIIs. May be the sectoral divide could be removed so that FDI could go up within the 49 per cent limit.

If Rupert Murdoch moves up his stake in Tata Sky to 74 per cent, he could gobble up Dish TV. Is that a worry?

I think every Indian should be worried about Rupert Murdoch. We have seen how he operates in other countries. Having said that, we are not worried about Tata Sky. We still register more subscribers than Tata Sky every day at 5,000 boxes. What the DTH players need to worry about is Sun Direct enrolling 12,000 customers a day.

Thanks : Bussiness Standards

NDTV Good Times to launch First Ladies with Abu Sandeep

December 29, 2008

NDTV Good Times will launch a new show, The First Ladies with Abu Sandeep, on January 3, 2009 every Saturday at 10.00 pm. The show is about 12 special women who have backed their men all the way.

Produced by Red Chillies Entertainment, the show features the better halves of some of India’s most distinguished men – Nita Ambani, Jaya Bachchan, Neerja Birla, Gauri Khan, Usha Mittal, Suzanne Roshan, Manyatta Dutt, Adhuna Akhtar, Anupama Chopra, Tanya Deol, Kiron Kher and HRH Padmini Devi.

Hosted by star designers Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, the show presents one celebrity wife and gets an inside view of her private world, otherwise hidden from the public eye. The ladies respond to tricky questions from the anchors and celebrity friends and even make a few confessions.

Shibani Sharma Khanna, channel head, NDTV Good Times, said, “The show is a rare insight into the lives and personalities of these special women, who are part of the phenomenal success stories. The show promises love, laughter, fun and juicy admissions.”

Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla said, “It is the first time we are hosting a television show and we wanted to be sure that it’s a well-laid out format and presentation. With NDTV Good Times, we were happy to get the right platform. The show’s unique concept makes it a clear cut winner.”

TDSAT: Zee Turner share Zee Telugu, Zee Kannada with Tata Sky

December 29, 2008

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has directed Zee Turner, to share the signals of Zee Telugu and Zee Kannada with direct-to-home (DTH) service provider Tata Sky.

The interim order was passed after the TDSAT admitted a petition by Tata Sky dated December 19, 2008, in this regard. TDSAT has directed the DTH service provider to sign the reference interconnect offer (RIO) with Zee Turner for sharing signals of the two channels.

Justice Arun Kumar, Chairperson, TDSAT, said, “As an interim measure and without prejudice to the rights and contentions of the parties, we direct the petitioner (Tata Sky) to sign the RIO on without prejudice basis and on the RIO being signed, the respondent (Zee Turner) will start supply of signals of the two channels, Zee Telugu and Zee Kannada, to the respondent, for which the respondent will pay in accordance with the RIO.”

Tata Sky had approached TDSAT on the dispute over terms and conditions of Zee Turner given in its RIO, wherein the latter had contended Tata Sky should take all channels of the Zee Group instead of two, as it had done earlier.

The Tribunal also issued notice to Zee Turner, which was accepted by its counsel, advocate Yoginder Handoo, and said the matter would be heard on February 13, 2009.

Star Movies to unveil new logo from January 1

December 29, 2008

Star Movies, the leading English movie channel, will unveil a new logo from January 1, which will be rolled out across its network of services from Southeast Asia and India to the Middle East and Taiwan.

An official spokesperson from the channel said to, “While the logo may have changed, one thing remains constant is that Star Movies continues to deliver the best films from the around the world. There was no conscious decision to make the new logo look different, and was adopted as it matches the programming on the channel.”

The new logo sports a bold look, with emphasis on the word ‘Movies’, and looks different from the logos of the other channels in the Star bouquet, but similar to the Star World logo.

In January, the channel will air hit movies like The Simpsons Movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and National Treasure: Book of Secrets, and the Oscar nominees such as Apocalypto and Enchanted.

In February, the channel will air the 81st Annual Academy Awards. To celebrate the awards, the channel will present Oscar Fever, a themed night featuring the premieres of 2008 Academy Awards winners.

Nine FM radio rides its listeners on Cloud Nine

December 22, 2008

In an initiative called Cloud Nine, Gangtok’s Nine FM radio is offering a chopper ride deal to its listeners for answering a few questions correctly. The move is to commemorate 10 years of Pawan Hans Helicopter Ltd’s services in Sikkim.

“Besides entertaining and informing, Nine FM has always aspired to make people’s dreams come true. We got a positive response from the aviation company, and are flying 10 lucky listeners,” says Bobby Gupta, chief executive officer, Nine FM.

Nine FM, a private broadcasting station operating on 91.9 FM MHz, learnt that Pawan Hans, the chopper service provider, was reaching that milestone and discussed a tie-up to mark the occasion with its officials. Listeners were asked random questions every day under the initiative and 10 people who gave correct answers to all the questions have won a free trip in a chopper. 

Nine FM is Sikkim’s first FM station and covers the Northern part of West Bengal, too. It has two stations – one at Gangtok, which has been running for the past three months, and the other at Siliguri, which has been operating for the past nine months. 

Both radio stations are promoted by the Kolkata-based Chinar Circuits and play a mix of Bollywood and English content. The Gangtok station also airs Nepali music.

Goa Doordarshan Kendra upgrades with hi-tech studio

December 22, 2008


The Doordarshan Kendra in the Goa state is set to give Goan audiences a series of quality programmes with the upgraded hi-tech studio ready for recording from today December 22.

The small television relay centre which was set up in 1982, has been upgraded to a state-of-the-art high power transmitter and programme generating facility comprising a studio floor area of around 50 sq m.

An additional high power transmitter for news services has also been set up. An additional studio facility (ASF) is also going to be added to the existing set-up shortly.

This ASF will comprise a floor area of more than 130 sq m, which is more than double the area of the existing studio. The studio is now equipped to record large panel discussions with bigger audiences compared to 2-way or 3-way panel discussions in the existing studio.

Speaking to us, C S Bharve, director, Doordarshan Kendra – Goa, said, “There is enough space to house an audience of over 100 in the new studio. This gives us enough space to record interactions. It will definitely improve the quality of our programmes. We will be able to record ‘tiatrs’ and ‘nataks’.”

The new studio has a 28 m by 4.5 m seamless cyclorama to provide an even background to recordings. Thirty four self climbing hoists which are motor controlled and can hold 4 lights each, have been provided. Lights have a dimming facility to provide special effects for drama production and skits. Assorted lights such as day lights and halogen lights have also been provided. 

The day lights provided are energy efficient and have little effect on air conditioning as a negligible amount of heat is produced. Three state-of-the-art cameras have also been provided in the studio. A channel audio mixer with facilities including talk back and fold back have been positioned. This mixer can be used for stereo recordings whenever required. 

Another 16 channel vision mixers are provided to connect various sources. This vision mixer is supported with the latest software for production of programmes with high quality digital effects. Productions will be recorded in VCRs with a DVC PRO 50 format of the latest version.

A programme server has also been provided for tape less production and storage of programmes with archival importance. It will also save time in locating and replaying a particular programme. This studio has been integrated with both, transmitter and earth stations thus making it capable of transmitting live performances via terrestrial mode as well as satellite mode at any given time.

Nalanda Capital buys 7 mn shares in Sun TV for Rs 1 bn

December 22, 2008

Singapore-based private equity firm Nalanda Capital has picked up seven million shares in Kalanithi Maran’s Sun TV Network for Rs 1.02 billion.

The transaction was through an open market bulk deal on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

The shares, constituting 1.78 per cent stake, have been picked up for Rs 145 per share.


The scrip of Sun TV is attracting investors as the value has declined from a high of Rs 390 in May this year to a low of Rs 125 in December. Trade pundits asses that the stock has the potential to head towards the target of Rs 225 levels.

Investors have also viewed with optimism the truce between the marans and DMK party chief and Tamil Nadu CM M Karunanidhi.

Sun recently launched a film production company, Sun Pictures, for movie production. The company has a plan to produce the movies in the four southern languages.

A South India based media conglomerate, Sun TV has around 20 TV channels, 43 FM radio stations, two daily newspapers and four magazines. Sun also has a presence in cable TV and direct-to-home. Exclusive : Sun Pictures to snap up India’s costliest flick Robot

December 17, 2008

This buyout has a filmy touch to it. Buoyed by its initial success in movie production, Marans-owned Sun Pictures has bought out the

production rights for the costliest Indian movie to date Robot- starring Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai.

The sci -fi movie, to be directed by Shankar and with a whopping Rs 100 crore + budget, was initially supposed to have been produced by London based Ayngaran International, in which Kishore Lulla-owned Eros International has a controlling stake.

But sources close to the development said owing to financial troubles, Ayngaran is transferring all the production costs of the movie to Sun Pictures. Officials at Ayngaran and Sun Pictures could not be reached for comment or further details. But sources involved in the deal said that a formal agreement will be signed on Thursday and the total value of the deal could cross a hundred crore.

If the agreement goes through, this will be the second such bailout for the recently floated Sun Pictures. It acquired the distribution rights for its maiden film “Kadhalil Vizhunden” from Atlantic Cinemas. Sun Pictures infused life into the movie and made it a runaway by actively marketing it Sun Network’s TV and radio media.

A similar positive climax awaits “Robot”, which is riding on huge dollops of money and hype. After the Rajini-starrer, Sivaji, The Boss created waves as the most expensive movie at Rs 80 crore, Rajini-Rai starrer “Robot” became the next big thing in film circles.

It also had a touch of drama to it because Shahrukh Khan was initially supposed to star and co-produce the movie through his company, Red Chillies Entertainment. However, it was drooped owing to creative differences between director Shankar and Shahrukh. Industry sources say, give Shankar’s reputation for an ostentatious canvas, the cost of production of Robot could run into hundreds of crores, setting a new Indian record. The movie will take another year and a half for completion.

The film will be made in Tamil, but will be released in five languages, including Hindi and Telugu, besides a couple of other regional languages. The movie will also rope in a few Bollywood stars, to add to the glam factor, but details on this front have not been formalised.

SFM to host Kalaa Awards for Kannada film industry

December 16, 2008

In a first of its kind initiative, the Sun Network promoted FM venture, SFM plans to host the Kalaa Awards 2009, felicitating the best of the Kannada film industry on 24 January 2009 in Bangalore.

The Kalaa Awards are the first such to be held by any radio channel for the film music industry. The uniqueness of the awards lies in that there were no nominations for the awards. Listeners from Bangalore, Mangalore, Mysore and Gulbarga were requested to vote for the best lyricist, singers, music composers and others via SMS.

The categories for the awards include best music composer, lyricist, female singer, male singer, song etc. A special award and a Music Icon of the year 2008 award would be given to wellknown names in the industry for their significant contribution to the Kannada film and music industry, it is learnt.

Says SFM Programming Director (Karnataka) Sathish Chandra, “Radio stations mainly depend on the music industry and nothing has been done in the past to acknowledge its contribution. Kalaa awards is our way of giving back to the industry for their support over two years of our existence.”

On the awards night, the station will host an hour long special programme, interspersed with messages from the winners and their songs across all four stations – Bangalore, Mysore, Mangalore and Gulbarga. States Chandra, “We would be changing the flow of the programmes for the day. We would be playing the tracks that have been voted by the listeners and try to link on air from the venue. We would have feeds from the winners interacting with the RJs on air.”

SFM in Karnataka mostly plays Kannada content and Bollywood occupies a small portion of its shows. Explains Chandra, “We play three Bollywood tracks every hour during the prime drive time in the mornings and the evenings and the other content is mostly Kannada.” The voting lines for the awards close on 20 January 2009 and the results would be declared at the awards ceremony.

NewsX shines post Mumbai terror attacks

December 16, 2008

As the entire nation tunes in to the news channels for precise updates post the Mumbai terror attacks, NewsX, the English news channel from the house of INX News, stands firm as an trusted source of information amongst others.

According to the TAM Media ratings for the Week 49, the channel’s prime time programmes touched a new high. While the news bulletin at 11 pm on December 01 was the top rated programme, a special programme on Mumbai called 59 Hours of Terror, was ranked number three among the top 100 programmes across all the English news channels. Overall four programmes from NewsX were among the top five programmes during the week.

The ratings reinstates that the channel has succeeded in building a sustainable relationship with its audience through its programming. NewsX has also been rated as number two channel among C&S Digital audiences with relative channel share of 23 per cent on weekdays during the prime time.

Arup Ghosh, head of news room, NewsX, says, “Our attempt to comply with the framework laid down by the security agencies without compromising on the authenticity of the coverage and content, in wake of India ‘s most brutal battles, is what was applauded by our viewers. Our team will continuously strive to offer ethical content to our patrons.”

Adds Gautam Mukerjea, marketing director, INX News, “NewsX stands committed to its core promise of Clarity in a Complex World since inception. These recent ratings clearly stand as testimony to our focus on delivering accuracy and clarity in news dissemination.”